We were watching a program on Queen Elizabeth. It said that Margaret was given a hard time for wanting to marry Peter Townsend, because he was a divorced man. We all know about Charles's problems with a divorced woman. The Church of England does not permit divorce. Out of the question for royalty to marry divorced people, or to get divorced themselves.
But wait a minute - it occurs to me that the main reason for starting the Church of England was so that Henry VIII could get divorced and find a woman that could bear him sons. The nasty old Pope wouldn't permit divorce, and Henry was tired of beheading all his wives. So start your own church and put the king as head of it, and hey, you can do what you want.
So what changed? They're just as strict on themselves now as the Catholic church was then. What am I missing here?
Gary Eickmeier
1 2 3
We were watching a program on Queen Elizabeth. It said that Margaret was given a hard time for wanting to ... England does not permit divorce. Out of the question for royalty to marry divorced people, or to get divorced themselves.

The Church of England doesn't have a voice when it comes to divorce - divorce is a civil matter. CoE did used to refuse to allow divorce(e)s to marry in church, but they've since changed their minds. (They've probably changed their minds several times - I don't keep up with the Synod because, frankly, I can't be arsed). So you can now get married in CoE even if your divorced partner is still alive. In Charles' case it's dazzlingly obvious that the CoE will trip over their cassocks in the haste to arrange a church wedding for himself and Camilla Park-and-Ride. Princess Anne got divorced and remarried after her divorce, though in the Church of Scotland since CoE were still snotty about it at that stage.
Princess Margaret could have married Townsend had she wanted. She would have lost her place in the succession but retained her title.
But wait a minute - it occurs to me that the main reason for starting the Church of England was ... start your own church and put the king as head of it, and hey, you can do what you want.

Technically, the marriage with Catherine was annulled (by Cranmer because the Pope refused to annul it). It wasn't a divorce. The Pope could have annulled it but he had political reasons for not doing so.
So what changed? They're just as strict on themselves now as the Catholic church was then. What am I missing here?

Not missing nuffin. Start your own church and put a Science Fiction writer as head of it and you can be a Hollywood star.
John Dean
Oxford
We were watching a program on Queen Elizabeth. It said that Margaret was given a hard time for wanting to ... what changed? They're just as strict on themselves now as the Catholic church was then. What am I missing here?[/nq]You may be oversimplifying the circumstances of Henry VIII's "divorce". He was actually seeking a decree of nullity, on the ground that he had inadvertently contracted an incestuous marriage, which God had accordingly cursed with lack of a male heir. The Church took evidence in secret, and concluded that his Queen's previous marriage to his elder brother Arthur was unconsummated (Arthur was a youth in very poor health and judged impotent). So Henry was lawfully wedded and nullity could not be granted.

Henry's desire for a son as heir was certainly one motive for his refusal to accept the Pope's ruling, but historically there had often been some tension between King and Pope as to who had the last word. By breaking with Rome, Henry could create new dioceses (smaller than the former ones, reducing the income and power of the bishops), appoint his own bishops, dissolve the monasteries and seize their lands and revenues, and generally give himself authority to do almost anything - including marrying whomever he liked.

The one thing that Henry ("Fidei Defensor") didn't have in mind was an English Reformation on continental lines. The Mass remained essentially as it was, though some of it was now in English, and - the Papacy apart - the doctrines of the English church were unchanged. The root-and-branch "reformation" came with his sickly son Edward VI. Perhaps even that was more branch than root: the C of E claimed and claims to maintain the Apostolic Succession, and -
unlike any national church in Protestant or indeed Catholic Europe - has kept up to this day the singing of the daily Offices by quasi-monastic choirs in virtually every cathedral and in five or six university colleges. Go to Salisbury for a festal Eucharist and you could almost be back in Henry VIII's time. (At my village church we've just found, polished and brought back into use a neglected Sanctus bell for threefold ringing at the consecration, and this Advent we shall start singing the Agnus Dei in Latin as the wafer is broken. . . and we're not regarded as "High Church".)

Alan Jones
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We were watching a program on Queen Elizabeth. It said that Margaret was given a hard time for wanting to ... what changed? They're just as strict on themselves now as the Catholic church was then. What am I missing here?

What you are missing is perceived English public
morality as it was approx. 1950, when the most middle and upper class families preferred separation r adultery to divorce.
E.g. all my life in a middle class English family (born
1939) I had the privileged position as the oldest of mygeneration (eldest son of eldest son, one of seven, all fertile). A visible anomaly in this family was that Uncle Jack had stepsons of a different surname, because Aunt Joan had earlier been married to someone else.

Approx. 1990 my youngest uncle showed me the
Family Bible (that I had never known about before) and said, "There your name is, right after XYZ."
"Who is XYZ?" "She is your Cousin XYZ, Jack's
daughter, born 1937."
The point is that Uncle Jack had married quite
young (i.e. under 30), had one child, quickly
divorced and then remarried someone else
which in the 20 years I lived with his elder
brother, visiting Uncle Jack several times, his
earlier marital history was never once mentioned.
Divorce was in those years something that
should never happen to respectable people,
and was a shameful secret if it did.
This governed 3/4 of the advice offered to
Princess Margaret when young and in love.
(The other 1/4 of the advice concerned the
marital history of her Aunt Wallis.)

Don Phillipson
Carlsbad Springs
(Ottawa, Canada)
Princess Margaret could have married Townsend had she wanted. She would have lost her place in the succession but retained her title.

This all happened well before my time, so I am uncertain of my facts here. But could she have married Townsend? The various statutes forbid Royals from marrying without the consent of the Monarch, and it's entirely possible that HM would have forbidden Margaret from marrying. But is the penalty merely removal from the succession (as you imply), or could HM have actually stopped the whole thing?
As others have noted, in the 50s divorce was a shameful thing, rarely acknowledged.

Graeme Thomas
The one thing that Henry ("Fidei Defensor") didn't have in mind was an English Reformation on continental lines. The Mass ... that was more branch than root: the C of E claimed and claims to maintain the Apostolic Succession, and -

Maintained apostolic succession? Excuse me, but... how can they claim that if they broke off from the church of Rome?
Gary Eickmeier
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This governed 3/4 of the advice offered to Princess Margaret when young and in love. (The other 1/4 of the advice concerned the marital history of her Aunt Wallis.)

But they have the same attitude today w respect to Charles and Camilla. So it's not just a 50s thing.
Gary Eickmeier
The one thing that Henry ("Fidei Defensor") didn't have in ... claimed and claims to maintain the Apostolic Succession, and -

Maintained apostolic succession? Excuse me, but... how can they claim that if they broke off from the church of Rome?

It's about bishops ordaining bishops. The line of ordination is unbroken. There was no break in this line. At no point was a bishop ordained by someone who was not already a bishop.
The Catholic Church may disagree with the validity of CofE ordinations. The CofE and its sibling episcopalian churches clearly do not.

Peter Duncanson
UK (posting from a.e.u)
Princess Margaret could have married Townsend had she wanted. She would have lost her place in the succession but retained her title.

This all happened well before my time, so I am uncertain of my facts here. But could she have married ... is the penalty merely removal from the succession (as you imply), or could HM have actually stopped the whole thing?

If she had removed herself (and her future children) from the succession, would she have still been a Royal? Princess Di was still a princess after her divorce, but not an HRH. I presume she could have married Al Fayed Junior without the Queen's permission, and without removing her sons by Charles from the succession.
As others have noted, in the 50s divorce was a shameful thing, rarely acknowledged.

wrmst rgrds
Robin Bignall
Hertfordshire
England
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